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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Finless Porpoise at Greater Risk

The finless porpoise has long been considered to be a vulnerable species, with only a few thousand individuals in the wild. A new study has found, however, that there are actually two separate species of finless porpoise, cutting the number of individuals down by half for each type. One lives in the Yangtze River, making it the only porpoise to survive in fresh water. This species is very rare, with approximately 1,000 porpoises living. The other lives in sea water, dwelling in the Yellow Sea and South China Sea. This revelation is hoped to cause more conservation efforts, as each type of finless porpoise has been found to be closer to extinction than previously thought.

The finless porpoise is a midsized marine mammal found primarily in coastal Asian waters. Their name stems from their lacking of a dorsal fin, a small ridge in its place, extending from its blowhole to its tail. They weigh between 65 and 100 pounds, and can grow to over five feet long. Although related to whales and dolphins, their behavior is more subdued, as they tend to be more shy of boats and do less playing in the waves.

The finless porpoise is currently considered to be an endangered species only in China. Their main threats are habit degradation, being caught in fishing nets, and enduring the after-effects of dredging lakes. Pollution has also been considered a dangerous threat, as are boat accidents. Hunting the porpoises has never been popular, as most have an aversion to eating the rare species, but when they are accidentally killed by becoming entangled in nets, or as byproducts of illegal electric fishing, they are sometimes sold as food.

1 comment:

  1. really interesting how different they look without the fin......